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SACS’ How-it-Works Tutorial on Overhead Garage Doors


Unless you DIY your seasonal garage door maintenance, you might not be really familiar with the garage door parts that have to cooperate for your garage door to operate properly. Let’s be honest – many of us press that garage door opener remote a few times a day and never give a thought to what the garage door opener actually does. Guess what? It’s not much.

Garage doors might seem complicated because there are so many door parts and components, but it’s actually very straightforward, the way they work. So let’s take a quick look at how a sectional overhead garage door works:

  • The garage door is typically comprised of 4 panels attached with hinges so the door can switch from vertical to horizontal in the open position.
  • The garage door panels are attached to the tracks by arms with rollers on one end. The rollers are set in the tracks, which keep the door in line. These tracks run on either side of the garage door, do a 90-degree at the header, and then run horizontally along the ceiling, where the garage door sits when it’s in the open position.
  • One center-mounted track runs from the garage door opener to the garage door header, and a trolley carriage attached to the door makes sure the garage door stays secure and balanced as it moves. The trolley is also where you’ll find the emergency release for when your garage door opener doesn’t work or you need to do work on the garage door.
  • The garage door springs, which are usually torsion, are what really do the heavy lifting in the movement of the garage door. Garage door torsion springs are center-mounted at the garage door’s header. They are super-heavy-duty, and use a significant amount of torque to control the speed of the door when opening or closing. Cables that run the height of the door on either side assist the garage door springs in their work.
  • When you hit the button on your garage door opener remote, everything works in tandem. The spring is activated, handling the weight of the door during its operation.  The hinges and brackets on the garage door are what allow it to fold as it makes that 90-degree turn onto the ceiling or down to the floor. And the trolley sits in the track that runs against the ceiling. The trolley carriage helps guide the door towards and away from the garage door opener’s motor.

Keeping Your Garage Door Working & On Track

All of these garage door parts go to work at the same time when you press that button on your garage door opener remote. That means that if one part is damaged, bent or broken, it will put undue stress on other parts, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a broken garage door spring or a burnt-out garage door opener motor. That is why we’re so adamant you do regular garage door maintenance – or even better – call us to come do it for you! 

Things you should do seasonally to maintain your garage door and avoid costly repairs include:

  • Clean the tracks. Check for bends, remove surface rust and check the anchors to make sure the tracks are secured in place. Never lubricate the tracks or apply WD40; these things will cause more buildup and can damage the rollers and put stress on the opener.
  • Lubricate the rollers. Check the rollers on your garage door’s arms. Clean any dirt, grime or surface rust. Replace any worn or broken rollers. We recommend nylon rollers because they’re quiet and can’t rust like metal ones. Lubricate the clean, replaced rollers with a lithium-based grease.
  • Lubricate the hinges. First, make sure your garage door’s hinges are in good condition, then clean any debris buildup and switch out any rusty screws. Then, lubricate the hinges with a lubricant specifically for garage doors.
  • Inspect the door. Are there any cracks in the panels? Do the springs look weird? Is there corrosion anywhere? Loose or brittle weather stripping? Does the drive or the opener need recalibrated? Make a list of any concerns you find along the way. Some things, like a dented garage door panel, are safe to repair yourself. Others, like torsion spring repair, are not. 

Professional Garage Door Repair Specialists Can Help

When you pay regular attention to your garage door, you extend the life of the door, and you catch potential problems early. That means less frequent and costly garage door repairs. Who doesn’t want that? Giving a garage door repair company a call is never a bad idea when you’re dealing with a problem big or small. We can ensure your garage door gets back to working its best with safe, skilled and effective repairs. Don’t ignore your garage door until something bad happens – give it some attention every once in a while, or give us a call to do it for you!

Garage Door Opener Repair: DIY Fix or Professional Repair?

When your garage door opener’s on the fritz, you can usually start with some troubleshooting before you call a garage door service company. Is the motor for the garage door opener plugged in? No, really. Check the eye sensors at the bottom of the garage door – are they obstructed or grimy? Are you sure it’s the opener itself? If moving parts are broken or your door is off balance, the garage door opener might not be able to move the door. If it’s not as simple as dirty eyes or a lack of power source, give the pros a call – they’ll have your opener back up and running in no time.